Factors Affecting the Implementation And Use of Technology in Teaching Biology Courses in Florida's Community Colleges
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Students are constantly immersed in Hollywood glitz, MTV music videos and fastpaced television commercials. For "better or for worse" the movement to make communication a multimedia presentation is upon us. Educational technology -multimedia/Internet - is playing an increasingly important role as a teaching and learning supplement in modern classrooms and has been suggested as an avenue to improve science education. Potential benefits of the Internet, CD-ROMS, Videodiscs, WebCT, course web sites and other computer-based resources include increased communication among students and between instructor and students. Recently, although not a new idea for some, it has been demonstrated that for a significant number of students, learning occurs more readily if the material is presented visually as compared to verbally. Visual presentation is what multimedia is all about. Biology in particular seems to benefit from the application of technology in the classroom since rapid advances in the field make it nearly impossible for textbooks to remain current. Many biology instructors are seeking to take advantage of these benefits by using technology as an increasingly integral part of the teaching experience. This research involves an investigation into how multimedia and the Internet are or are not being used in the teaching of biology courses at the community college level in the State of Florida. A questionnaire was developed to elicit biology faculty perceptions of factors that encourage and those that inhibit their use of the Internet and multimedia in the classroom and in the laboratory.The Educational Technology Survey was designed for ease of response in order to encourage a high return, and respondents answered the survey via the Internet. The collected data were analyzed by using distributions of frequencies and percentages. Perhaps the most outstanding feature noticeable as a result of this research is that instructor interest was the number one factor responsible for instructors using the Internet or any other form of multimedia. Without the resources, time, faculty development, and technical support, teachers are less likely to use technology in their laboratory and classroom presentations. Educational technology offers exciting possibilities to advance and change teaching, and this research points out some of the factors affecting the implementation of such technology. The study concludes with recommendations for faculty as well as administrators in their efforts to implement technology into the curriculum. Also included are suggestions for further research.
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